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by Abigail Van Buren

Unhappy Relationship May Be Truth Behind the Lies

DEAR ABBY: Recently I've noticed how much I have been lying to people about little things, when the lie does not in any way benefit me.

For instance, if I am asked what I've been doing, I will lie, even though the answer is no more glamorous than the truth. Yesterday, I told someone I had to stop and get gas before going home, even though I knew I was going straight home.

I once heard someone who had been abused as a child say that she started lying about everything in order to feel that she was in control of the situation. Abby, I have never been abused, and I don't know why I lie so much. It's really been bad the last year, but the lie is always out of my mouth before I realize it.

I'm sure the people I lie to know that I am lying, so why do I feel so powerless to stop? Could this have anything to do with the fact that I am in an unhappy relationship and want out? -- CHRONIC LIAR

DEAR CHRONIC LIAR: Your last sentence could be a clue. You are not happy with things the way they are, so even though that which you lie about is of no consequence, at least it's not reality, which you dislike.

A psychotherapist could help you get to the root of this. If you are not already acquainted with one, ask your physician for a referral -- or contact your county mental health department.